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When I spoke with Jack Lowden about BENEDICTION via zoom on May 23, 2022, the first thing I wanted to know was what it was like being directed by such an auteur as Terence Davies. This biopic of the life and English poet Siegfried Sassoon, as with so many of Davies’ films, is both highly emotional, and yet with a heightened sort of reality that keeps it all roiling just beneath the surface. In this case, the anguish Sassoon felt as a closeted artist as depicted here from his years as an officer in World War I through the 1960s. As Lowden and I agreed, Davies’ dialogue is as poetic as anything Sassoon produced , tinged intelligent wit and ironic despair.
We went on to talk about why Sassoon’s way of reading poetry wouldn’t wash today; his early dance training; sharing the role of Sassoon with Peter Capaldi, who plays the older version of the poet; and what he wants to get out of working with his idols.
We finished up with the parallels between the lives of Sassoon and Davies; filming the exquisitely heartbreaking last scene; filmmaking during the pandemic; and why Lowden wants to work on both sides of the camera.
Lowden’s previous work includes a Spitfire pilot DUNKIRK and Lord Darnley, the doomed second husband of MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.